This was one of those glorious days that promised to be completely satisfying and gratifying. The sun was shining as I set out to take Holy Communion to the sick and the aged in their homes, rounding off the morning with a visit to the General Hospital where I would administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to several patients.
I enjoy this ministry because I invariably witness the consolation this Sacrament brings. I am moved and inspired by their strong faith. Their appreciation makes me feel good about my priesthood. When possible I try not to make very many calls, so that I can have the leisure to exchange a few pleasantries with all the family.
Sometimes when I recite the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary that is the Visitation, I, carrying Jesus in the Eucharist to homes, identify with Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb to the home of her cousin Elizabeth. It is a privilege to be a Christ bearer to others.
Now I have a problem Reaching God ...My Way. It's like this.
Just as I was leaving the last house of my rounds a vicious little dog rushed out from beneath the house and bit my leg. Look at my trouble! Where was God in this! What was He saying to me? How did He expect me to reach Him in these circumstances? My first reaction was that a dog is not necessarily man's best friend -certainly not mine!
After receiving my anti-tetanus injection I reflected on how readily the sick and the frail relate their own disabilities to Jesus, who suffered, died and rose for them. Their triumph is that with Christ-like trust in their heavenly Father they can unite their own vulnerability with that of Jesus. He understands and shares their pain. They understand and share His. They draw consolation in their tribulations from this Sacrament of communion with Jesus in His own suffering, death and resurrection.
My thoughts then turned to the Ministers of the Eucharist. There have been times, and there are still situations, when it is hazardous to life itself for priests to celebrate Mass and to take the Sacraments to the sick.
From this perspective my dog bite was trivial -no big thing!. All the same, it has been salutary for me to recognise that men have so valued their ministry that they have been prepared to expose themselves to extreme occupational hazards. Who am I, then, to complain about a bite from an unfriendly dog? No room here for self-pity, nor for the presumption of identifying myself with these courageous witnesses to the Faith.
I Reach God ...My Way by accepting with tranquility that I was called to shed blood, no more than a couple of drops, in God's good cause.
Peter O.P.Next week Isidore will meet God ...through messing about in boats.
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